COVID-19 Africa Update: Nigerians are now calling for at least a partial lockdown and public screening measures as confirmed cases soars overnight to 27 and Africa’s total is 1,117 in 42 countries

    Kenya started public screening measures. Photo: WHO Kenya

    SUN, MARCH 22 2020-theG&BJournal- As of 11 am on the 22nd of March, there are 27 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Nigeria, according to the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). That is 5 more new cases within 24 hours.

    Another new case has now been confirmed in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

    NCDC said, of the 27 cases, 2 have been discharged with no death. Lagos still tops the list of confirmed cases with 19, FCT now has 4 confirmed cases, Ogun 1, Ekiti 1 and Oyo state 1.

    Nigerians who spoke to theG&BJournal say this is the window of opportunity for the authorities to call a partial lockdown of Lagos, the city that is now assuming the epicentre of the outbreak in Nigeria. They also say that it is the most crucial period to implement public screening measures that is already in place in most African countries.

    Many Nigerians are becoming increasingly vocal on social media, calling on fellow Nigerians to strictly obey the preventive measures the Federal Government has put in place. Many of them also refer to the shortages in testing kits and the difficulties encountered in contact tracing.

    ‘’We will all lose it if the government don’t employ heavy hands in controlling ’irresponsible’ Nigerians still holding weddings, religious programmes and hanging out in close door bar where there are no rules against cigarette smoking,’’ one Sebastian Mayegun told our reporter in Lagos today.

    Health authorities say contact tracing is still ongoing to identify all persons who have been in contact with the new confirmed cases. The Port Health Services of the Federal Ministry of Health has heightened screening at all air, land and sea points of entry into Nigeria and adapted the protocols to reflect the travel guidance issued by the Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus.

    The federal government announced Saturday the closure of the Murtala Muhammed International airport and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International airport as part of the pre-emptive measures in place. The closure of the two airports means all International airports in the country are now shut.

    Health authorities went in full warning mode yesterday reminding Nigerians of the importance of strictly adhering to social distancing and other necessary precautions in place.

    These measures include taking the following precautions below to protect yourself and your family:

    1. Wash hands regularly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitiser if no water and soap is available
    2. Social distancing is crucial to reducing the spread of COVID-19 through;
    • Use of no-touch greetings
    • Maintaining at least 2 metres (5 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing
    • Staying home if you feel unwell with symptoms like fever, cough and difficulty in breathing. Immediately call NCDC’s 24/7 toll-free number 0800 970 000 0010. Do not self-medicate
    • Avoiding/postponing events with large gatherings of people including schools, workplaces, places of worship, crowded supermarkets and pharmacies, social and sporting events.
    1. Persons with a persistent cough or sneezing, should stay at home until they recover
    2. Make sure you and people around you observe hand and respiratory hygiene by:
    • Covering your nose with tissue when sneezing or coughing. Immediately dispose of tissue in a covered bin and wash your hands with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based sanitiser if no water and soap is available
    • Coughing or sneezing into the sleeve of your bent elbow if no tissue is available.
    1. Avoid all non-essential travel to all countries.

    The latest data by the World Health Organisation indicates that Africa now have 1,117 confirmed cases in 42 countries. There have been a total of 33 reported deaths. Uganda is the latest country in the continent to confirm a case.

    The Kenyan government of Kenya Saturday started public screening measures like temperature-taking for COVID-19. WHO said this is part of the many actions taken by the government to control the spread of the virus. So far there 7 confirmed cases in Kenya;